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Hang Loose: Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr. burn down BB&T for XPN Fest night two

Alabama Shakes | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Alabama Shakes | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

We might have been various degrees of soaking wet. But Alabama Shakes made it easy enough to forget.

“Here’s how it’s gonna work,” frontwoman Brittany Howard told the crowd. “I’m gonna give you a bit, and you’re gonna give it back.

And so it went: the band tore across a blistering 90-minute set that worked in most of the songs at the band’s disposal – including a thundering “Always Alright” from the Silver Linings Playbook soundtrack, the contemplative “Joe” (a live cut from an Austin City Limits comp), and a heaping handful from 2012’s Boys and Girls and last year’s Sound and Colour.   Continue reading →

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Watch #XPNFest artists Alabama Shakes, Josh Ritter, Father John Misty and more on VuHaus

Josh Ritter | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Josh Ritter | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

The initial lineup for WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival, presented by Subaru, has been announced. The festival is July 22-24th on the Camden, New Jersey Waterfront. Wiggins band headliners include Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band, and Father John Misty (solo), with appearances at Wiggins Park from The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Felice Brothers, The Districts, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, David Wax Museum, The Suffers, Darlingside, Chicano Batman, Low Cut Connie, Diane Coffee, The Record Company & more bands to be announced over the next several weeks. Continue reading →

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WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival initial lineup announced

XPNFest2016-FINAL_Stinson
WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival is happening July 22nd, 23rd, and 24th at the Camden Waterfront with shows at Wiggins Park and the BB&T Pavilion.

Tickets go on sale Friday at Noon, however you can reserve tickets by becoming a new or renewing WXPN member at $25 a month. You will receive a pair of 3-Day Go Everywhere Passes that includes LAWN ADMISSION to Ryan Adams/Kurt Vile on Friday, July 22, Alabama Shakes/Gary Clark Jr on Saturday, July 23, and Brandi Carlile/Old Crow Medicine Show on Sunday, July 24. Continue reading →

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Watch the Grammy Award winning Alabama Shakes perform “Don’t Wanna Fight” via VuHaus

Alabama Shakes | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Alabama Shakes | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

On the heels of their Grammy Award winning night last night, watch the Alabama Shakes perform “Don’t Wanna Fight” via VuHaus, with their performance from KCRW. The Shakes won three awards; Best Alternative Music Album for Sound & Color, and Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Don’t Wanna Fight.” Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2015

The albums that moved us in 2015
This is the music that moved us in 2015

It was a year of powerful records. Of loud guitars and brazen beats, of electronic tapestries and vocal abandon. It was a year of personal introspection and rallying cries for social change. It was a year when music felt inextricably tied to the world around us. When it felt more important than it had in a long time. Like we’ve said before, to narrow 12 months of incredible music down to a “top 15 albums of 2015” list is to exclude dozens of other worthy releases. This year, we had 26 writers and photographers cite a collective 82 albums as their favorites – you can view everybody’s top fives here, and I know fully well that had I asked The Key crew to give me top tens, I’d be easily looking at quadruple the titles. But we’ll go deep when our annual Year-End Mania roundup launches tomorrow. Today we take the long view and explore what rose to the surface of consensus in 2015, from the expressive moments of Kamasi Washington, Joanna Newsom and Jamie xx, to the pop permutations of Carly Rae Jepsen and Grimes , rock and/or roll from Courtney Barnett and Alabama Shakes, Philly representation from The Districts, Waxahatchee and of course, Hop Along‘s incredible breakout LP Painted Shut, which alongside the great Kendrick Lamar rose right to the top of our voting. Let’s recap the year. 
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Alabama Shakes amaze the Mann Center with rock and soul

Alabama Shakes | Photo by John Vettese
Alabama Shakes | Photo by John Vettese

“GODDAMN!” was the word a man behind me exclaimed throughout last night’s Drive-By Truckers and Alabama Shakes show at the Mann Center. I would concur with his sentiment, as both bands amazed with all-out rock and soul sets.

Kicking off the night, Drive-By Truckers ebbed and flowed with scorchers like “Let There Be Rock,” and political songs such as the new “What It Means.”

It was a co-headlining show, with the Truckers stretching out to 75 minutes, but the true stars of the show were Alabama Shakes, whose performance evoked soul, rock, and gospel with fluidity. Continue reading →